As much as I found it utterly childish that Boris didn't sign the letter drafted under the Benn Act, I highly doubt the EU will deem the request null and void because there's no signature given that a) Boris was required by UK law to send it, b) Sir Tim Barrow sent a signed letter at the same time confirming it was sent by law, and c) Parliament voted for Saturday's request to be a legal requirement, so the letter has the backing of UK Parliament and wouldn't change even if Boris was to suddenly quit right now and a new PM swiftly installed.
Indeed, it's a silly and very childish trick to be able to say on the campaign trail he didn't sign the letter.... even though he did send it, and he did request it...
In the commons he was already playing semantics the evening before, saying he would never 'negotiate' an extension with the EU...
Sure sounds very brave, but reality is there's no need to negotiate at all: the UK can only beg the EU for an extension.
Boris is all mouth, but very little meaningful words really.
BTW- something the British press hasn't been reporting about as they were too obsessed with his 3 lettres game and how smart/silly it was depending the side the journalist was on, but the EU has meanwhile confirmed 'good reception' to the PM of his lettre containing the formal extension request through the usual diplomatic channels, meaning the unsigned lettre is an OFFICIAL one for them and it is being considered. No need to sign it since it's on the official briefpaper, with his name under it, sent through the official channels, so it's a real demand to extend.
And it is the easy part. Wait for the very hard trade negotiation with the UK being a third country.......
Indeed, this was supposed to be the easy part!
But the rest would be so smooth too, because the UK would start from a position of full allignment, remember?
I think Brexiteers are going to be in for an even bigger reality check in the next phase: the next issue on their table soon is going to be the need to extend the transition period currently offered, probably in incremental steps, but unltimately beyond the maximum extension period foreseen in the current draft deal. It's going to be more of the same, but even more annoying!
Meanwhile the EU has appointed Mr Barnier as coordinator of the newly created "UK task force", set up to steer and streamline the EU27's dealings with the UK during the transition phase as well as that of the EC's trade negotiating team...
Although no duration is given, the task force is created for a duration of 5 years, so that should give us a realistic idea of the initial length of the transition phase: we can forget about the 18 months (plus possibly another year) currently talked about in the exit deal and hoped for by Brexiteers: it's not going to happen, just as nothing which they said would, has happened.
The EU's predictions and opening bids seem to be fairly accurate, however.